- What’s On
The Sakıp Sabancı Museum’s superb exhibition, The Prince's Extraordinary World - Abdülmecid Efendi, on Abdülmecid Efendi, the last caliph of the Ottoman Empire, has been extended for two months, which is excellent news.
Well-educated, sophisticated and artistic, Abdülmecid spent many of his years in Istanbul on Çamlıca Hill painting, writing poetry, gardening and becoming an accomplished musician. He even took art lessons from Osman Hamdi Bey.
When he had to flee Istanbul for exile in France, his painting had to be left behind. They are a remarkable pictorial legacy of the last days of empire.
In issue 34 of Cornucopia, Philip Mansel wrote about Abdülmecid Efendi's paintings, noting that 'surviving works include pictures of zeybeks, the village guards who protected the mountain passes on the Aegean; a palace coffee server; Sultans Selim I, Murat IV, Selim III and Mahmut II; and his own father, Abdülaziz, on a white horse. Though Abdülmecid was not a professional painter – in some pictures the hands are mere lumps – he none the less painted with vigour. Moreover, his pictures are historical documents, reflecting the educated elite’s interest in both Turkish and French cultures.'